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Review: Far North

The starkness of the narrative coupled with Asif Kapadia's technical rigour adds up to a cinematic experience as accomplished as the director's acclaimed debut feature The Warrior, writes Rashid Irani.

movie reviews Updated: Aug 25, 2008 16:48 IST
Rashid Irani

Far North


Cast:

Michelle Yeoh, Sean Bean


Direction:

Asif Kapadia


Rating:

***



Here’s truly adventurous filmmaking. Clearly, the British director of Indian origin, Asif Kapadia, and his cast and crew clearly had to struggle with climatic conditions while shooting this epic tale of passion and revenge.



Based on a short story by Sarah Maitland,

Far North

transports the viewer to the awe-inspiring snowscapes of the Arctic tundra. The starkness of the narrative coupled with the director’s technical rigour adds up to a cinematic experience as accomplished as Kapadia’s acclaimed debut feature

The Warrior

(2001).



The script, co-authored by Kapadia and Tim Miller, goes well beyond the surface of the folk tale-like plot, bringing us close to a trio of characters.



Two women struggle to survive on the frozen wasteland. The older one (Yeoh) is forever travelling further north in order to escape from the soldiers who have massacred her tribesmen. As for the infant adopted many years ago, she’s now a beautiful young woman (Michelle Krusiec).



Into their desolate world enters a mystery man (Bean). Nursed back to health from the brink of death, the stranger’s presence tests the women’s ‘familial’ bonds. How they interact with the intruder rivets our interest right upto the jolting climax.



On the downside, a couple of extended flashbacks are contrived merely to quicken the narrative’s momentum. Indeed, on the whole, the film’s snail-pace is a deterrent.



That apart,

Far North

has plenty of pleasures to offer-in particular the stunning camerawork by Kapadia’s regular collaborator Roman Osin. The brittle severity of Michelle Yeoh’s performance is an added asset. A tough film, yes, but one that should be sampled by discerning viewers.